I guess I've just answered my own question I asked yesterday in the MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK review about is it possible for Hollywood to even make a genuinely funny comedy that mentions sex a bunch and is still funny without resorting to a bunch of vulgar gross-out stuff. Well, maybe I only halfway answered my question, because Woody Allen is about as far away from being "Hollywood" as a popular director/writer can be.
Set in 1940, Woody Allen is C. W. Briggs an insurance investigator who's nearly always successful thanks to his many seedy, underworld connections and his ability to "think like a criminal". His glory days are quickly coming to an end though because the insurance company he works for hired an efficiency expert (Helen Hunt) to streamline the office and that might mean getting ride of the investigation division altogether. Allen tries to talk Hunt but it's of no used cause all they end up doing is trading insults.
To celebrate Briggs' latest success (a stolen Picasso), the company takes him and some co-workers out to a nightclub to see a hypnosis act. Allen and Hunt are selected to be the guinea pigs with hilarious results, but the hypnotist has a more sinister motive. Later on after the show he calls Briggs and over the telephone puts him back under hypnosis and orders him to use his inside knowledge to break into customers mansions and steal their jewelry. The next day Briggs is called in to investigate the crime he doesn't even know he committed.
I really like this movie a lot and think it's hilarious. Allen's one-liners are nonstop and not just reserved to himself. Helen Hunt is zinging 'em off one after the other. The pace is fast, the sets look great, the clothing looks amazing, especially Elizabeth Berkley's dresses (she's hotter in these dresses than she was naked in SHOWGIRLS!), yet for some completely unknown reason this movie was pretty much shit on by the professional critics. If you look right now on Rotten Tomatoes is has a rating of 46%!!!! What. the. fuck? That's fucking insane! THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION is just a simple, straight-forward comedy/mystery and it works wonderfully I think. I guess I'm fucking dumb or something, because I've watched this movie at least a dozen times and every time I smile and giggle at Allen's jokes and get into the story even though I know how it's going to end. The entire movie has a good feel to it that I like.
If you're a Woody Allen fan than this movie is a must, not only because it's funny, but because of as right now (2/2011) it's the last really good screen performance that Allen has put in. He's starred in a few movies since then they were only so-so. I really enjoy his character here and if I was rich I'd fucking beg Allen to do a sequel to JADE SCORPION (he'd refuse)...right after I begged him to remake SHANE (he'd refuse that too). I honestly think given complete freedom and an unlimited budget Allen could make a Western masterpiece. Not a comedy, but a dark drama. Back to TCOTJS: watch it. I think it's great and if you don't think there's probably something wrong with you.
I'm curious if Elizabeth Berkley got her role because she looks a lot like Stacey Nelkin?
Excellent trailer. Whoever did this did a great job.